Easy Slow Cooker Apricot Chicken and Cauliflower Rice (low carb, gluten free, dairy free)

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There is a reason The United States of America is the greatest, best country God has ever given man on the face of the earth.

This is because I am FREE. Free to eat whatever cuisine I want on Independence Day. Because America. When your country is a delicious fondue melting pot, there are a lot of ways to be American. Burgers and apple pie notwithstanding.

Like most sentient creatures on earth, takeout food holds a special place in my heart. Sometimes I just wanna eat something kinda greasy and gross. This is a universal experience of the human condition. Probably sociologists talk about it a lot. Probably over some takeout.

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My point here is that I could pretty much bathe in sweet and sour sauce. BUT I can think of more than a few reasons that might not be an excellent habit (…proper hygiene aside). The obscene amount of sodium, for one. Or the fact that one lunch-sized portion of your average sweet and sour chicken with rice contains about as many carbs as a liter of coke.

So that’s one thing. But takeout in and of itself isn’t a crime!! The problem is when everyone is super tired, and overworked, and in a rush, and trying to save money. This is when, justifiably, it’s a whooole lot easier to fall back on delivery, drive-thru, or pick-up for a quick meal that tastes pretty good. After while, takeout isn’t even fun anymore. It’s just dinner.

Ok I just depressed myself so IT’S TIME TO MOVE ON TO MY MAIN POINT HERE. Which is: Chinese takeout is the best and also super easy to make at home, HEALTHY STYLE. Plus, this recipe uses a slow cooker for those who 1) enjoy throwing everything into one pot and running away, and 2) laughing forever about turning on the oven when it’s a million degrees outside.

GOD BLESS ‘MURRICA.

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Easy Slow Cooker Apricot Chicken and Cauliflower Rice (low carb, gluten free, dairy free)

Yields: About 4 servings

Ingredients:

Chicken and sauce:
Around 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast
2 ⁄3 cup sugar-free or reduced sugar apricot preserves
3 tbsp gluten-free tamari or soy sauce (I used a low sodium tamari)
2 tbsp reduced sugar ketchup
1 tsp fresh minced ginger OR ¼ tsp ground ginger
¼ tsp liquid stevia OR about 1 tbsp lemon juice

Cauliflower rice:
Around 12 oz (1¼ cup) riced cauliflower (I seriously recommend grabbing a bag from Trader Joe’s if there’s one around you)
1-2 tbsp olive oil
Around 8 oz (1 cup) sliced mushroom
½ cup broccoli florets
1 tbsp gluten-free tamari or soy sauce (I used a low sodium tamari)
1-2 tbsp minced garlic, or to taste
¼ tsp ground ginger
Salt & pepper to taste
Diced green onions, for garnish (optional)

Directions:
Stir the preserves, tamari, ketchup, ginger and stevia or lemon juice in a small bowl. Whisk to combine. 

Place chicken breast in the crockpot and top with apricot sauce. Let cook for 4-5 hours on high or 8 hours on low. After cooking, open crockpot and shred chicken with two forks. Replace lid and let sit.

To make the cauliflower rice, place a large saucepan over medium heat and add the olive oil. Once the oil is hot, add minced garlic and heat until fragrant. Add mushrooms and sauté until they just begin to soften and release water. Add broccoli florets and cook until bright and crisp-tender, about 3 minutes.

Add riced cauliflower and sautee for a few minutes until more tender.

Add tamari, powdered ginger, black pepper, and salt. Stir to combine.

Serve them up together IN THE LAND OF THE FREE. 🇺🇸 🇺🇸 🇺🇸

Nutrition (Calculated with sugar-free preserves, lemon juice, and tamari):
apricot chicken w caulirice nutrition

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Roasted Eggplant Lasagna (low carb, gluten free, vegetarian)

Is there anything more delightful than an eggplant? THAT WAS A TRICK QUESTION. Because the answer is yesroasted eggplant, which is in fact marginally more delightful than just regular eggplant.

For those who require examples of the aforementioned delight: baba ganoush, ratatouille, stir fry, moussaka – the (delightful) possibilities are simply endless for this glossy, purple fruit! It also boasts an impressive array of many vitamins and minerals, such as excellent amounts of fiber, folate, potassium and manganese, as well as vitamins C, K, and B6, phosphorus, copper, thiamin, niacin, and magnesium. It even contains phytonutrients with high antioxidant compounds.

But let’s not kid ourselves. What’s the first thing you think of when you think of eggplant dishes? That’s right. This fine aubergine is usually just relegated to second fiddle in an eggplant parmesan – breaded, fried, and reduced to mush under a mountain of sauce and cheese.

Now, I won’t even lie. I am entirely ok with the mountain of sauce and cheese. So let’s work on everything else.

AS PROMISED: mountains of sauce and cheese.

Baked, grilled, roasted – nothing brings out the ~*~rich complexity~*~ in an eggplant’s flavor than some lovin’ in the oven (…or grill). Plus, with its dense, robust texture, it makes an excellent substitute for meat in vegetarian or vegan cuisine.

So let’s keep it classic. We want sauce, we want cheese, and we want eggplant playing a better role than ‘breadcrumb vehicle’. Here’s an idea: ROASTED EGGPLANT LASAGNA (this is where you get excited because I said just the title of the movie post). Now it’s low carb, gluten free, and still accessible to our vegetarian friends!!

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Roasted Eggplant Lasagna (low carb, gluten free, vegetarian)

Yields: Around 8 servings

Ingredients:

3-4 medium to large eggplants
Olive oil spray AND/OR about 3 tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper, seasonings of choice (I used Penzeys Italian Herb Mix, which includes oregano, basil, marjoram, thyme and rosemary)
1 can (14.5 oz.) diced tomatoes (I used a ‘no salt added’ variety)
1 16 oz. jar no sugar added tomato sauce
1/2 cup grated parmesan
2 to 2 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella (I used part-skim mozzarella)
Chopped parsley, for topping

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400º, and line a large baking sheet (or sheets) with aluminum foil. Spray or drizzle with olive oil.

Slice eggplant and lay on baking sheet(s) in a single layer. Lightly salt and season, and spray, brush, or drizzle with olive oil again.

Place in oven and roast for 30 – 45 minutes, flipping each slice over about halfway through. (NOTE: if some slices are thinner than others, they may brown and crisp up – these make AWESOME eggplant chips and are excellent for snacking on. NO MISTAKES HERE.)

While eggplant roasts, pour the diced tomatoes into a colander placed in the sink, and allow to drain.

Spread about 1/4 cup tomato sauce evenly over the bottom of a large casserole dish. Layer with roasted eggplant, and then top with the drained diced tomatoes. Sprinkle about 2 tbsp parmesan and 1/2 cup of mozzarella, and then continue layering with eggplant, tomato sauce, and cheeses until eggplant runs out. Make sure you finish with a glorious layer of mozzarella and parmesan!

Bake about 30-40 minutes, or until cheese melts and begins to brown. Top with fresh chopped parsley, and serve hot.

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Nutritional Info (as calculated with olive oil spray):

roasted eggplant nutrition

 

Healthier Fish Fry (low carb, gluten free)

fishfry8WE HAVE ALREADY CONFIRMED that I am a complete slave to suggestion.

That being said, I have obviously passed way too many signs advertising all the delicious ‘FISH FRY DAY’ events around town.

I mean, earlier this week was macaroni and cheese, for god’s sake. If eating traditional Lenten fare was a requirement for observing it, I would be the greatest Catholic on earth. (As opposed to “not Catholic at all”, which is my regular status.) I BLAME THE FISH FRY SIGNS.

Then again, if there’s anyone who can deny the siren call of a crispy, crunchy, flaky fried filet o’ fish, please never introduce me. Because there is obviously something very wrong going on there.

BUT, as you might imagine, the usual panko-breading or beer-battering would not integrate especially well into a low-carb, grain-free, or gluten-free diet. So what now? No fish fries? WOULD I DO THAT TO YOU? You want a fish fry, you got a fish fry. No one gets denied anything ’round these parts. In fact, BONUS: let’s even make it pretty good for you

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Sizzling sounds left to your imagination.

It goes without saying that eating fish is a highly recommended source of protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and numerous vitamins including vitamin A, vitamin D, and vitamin E. There’s a reason cod liver oil is a thing, and it’s not just to punish feisty young whipper-snappers.

But while we’re talking about ultra-nutritious additions to your diet, let’s talk about flaxseed. While the seeds from most plants provide a wealth of health benefits, flaxseed is uniquely fantastic:

Well. And here we just wanted some fried fish. Side of antioxidant compounds included.

I opted to use golden flaxseed meal over brown purely because it was prettier. Brown and golden flaxseeds boast almost identical nutritional benefits, so feel free to use whatever’s most accessible to you.

After that it was a simple matter of adding in some savory grated parmesan cheese and a dash of colorful choice spices. Now we’ve got ourselves a ‘healthified’ fish fry! Hallelujah.

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Healthier Fish Fry (low carb, gluten free)

Yields: Around 4 servings

Ingredients:
1 pound skinless cod, cut into preferred size strips
2 large egg whites or about 1/4 cup egg whites 
1/4 cup flaxseed meal
3 tbsp grated parmesan cheese
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/4 tsp ancho chili powder
1/4 tsp black pepper
Oil for frying (olive oil, avocado oil, etc)

Directions:

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In a shallow, wide bowl combine flaxseed meal, grated parmesan, and spices. Place egg whites in a separate bowl.

Heat oil (around 1/8 inch) in heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat.

Dip prepared cod strips into egg whites, and then dredge in flaxseed mixture, turning to coat pieces completely.

Fry fish in oil for about 4 to 6 minutes, turning once, until fish flakes easily and has browned slightly on both sides. Remove fish from hot pan and serve immediately.

Nutritional Info:

fish fry nutrition

 

The Cheesiest Macaroni & Cheese, and Saucy Sodium Citrate Science?! (Low carb, gluten free, vegetarian adaptable)

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STORY TIME: Several years ago, I had surgery to remove all four of my wisdom teeth. I was advised to eat softer, easy-to-chew foods while recovering. Miserable, swollen, and doped up on painkillers, I ate macaroni and cheese exclusively for every meal that week.

It was the greatest week of my life.

YOU GET IT. Mac and cheese is one of those foods that just completes me. I am definitely in the majority when I say this. It is among the finest of melty cheese delivery systems ever conceived.

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Honestly I still can’t see blue and yellow together without my brain autofilling KRAFT® MACARONI AND CHEESE. It could be dish soap. It could be the Swedish flag. It doesn’t even matter. I have been CONDITIONED.

This is probably why it took me a super long time to question the fact that everyone’s favorite cheese sauce was from a packet of day-glow orange powder. I am not going to tell you what I have since learned about this powder. I’ll just say the good news is that at least the second to last ingredient actually references cheese. After Yellow 5 and Yellow 6.

Well. All right. But cheese is the # 1 ingredient of my SOUL. It stands to reason that it should also be the #1 ingredient in my cheese sauce.

IMG_5979SEND HELP.

So I did what I do best and asked the internet. And the internet provided. 

Let me tell you about the magical ingredient called sodium citrate. Sodium citrate is the sodium salt of citric acid (which occurs naturally in citrus fruits). In a cheese sauce, sodium citrate allows the proteins to become more soluble which creates a smooth emulsion without curdling.

So science science, blah blah. What’s my point? My point is that with nothing but water and just a pinch of sodium citrate, you can use literally any cheese you want and make the perfect, smooth melty cheese sauce of your dreams. We’re talking gruyere, gouda, cheddar, muenster, you name it. A nacho cheese sauce made of BRIE. The sheer possibilities are overwhelming. I am overwhelmed.

This was definitely more ideal than cheese as my #1 ingredient. This was pretty much cheese as my only ingredient. This is a pure, unadulterated cheese sauce without added thickeners, flours, or preservatives of any kind. Like homemade Velveeta, but incomparably better! Plus, mad scientist food chemistry!! SIGN ME RIGHT UP.

Sodium citrate can be easily purchased online and will last you for ages. HOWEVER: I understand that this isn’t exactly up everyone’s alley, so I’ve also provided a simple, more classic (still low-carb!) cheese sauce recipe for your macaroni and cheese needs.

To keep this low-carb and grain free, I’m using the same noodle I used in my ramen recipe – a ziti-shaped shirataki noodle. Again, you’re more than welcome to substitute in zucchini noodles (aka zoodles), kelp noodles, spaghetti squash, cabbage, or just some plain old gluten-free noodles (keeping in mind the carb count would change).

So come join me for some saucy sodium citrate science! Lab coats and safety goggles optional, but encouraged.

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The Cheesiest Mac & Cheese, and Saucy Sodium Citrate Science (Low carb, gluten free, vegetarian adaptable)

Recipe adapted from Modernist Cuisine

Yields: Around 6 servings

Ingredients:
3-4 packages of ziti or elbow shaped shirataki noodles/tofu shirataki 
11-14 grams sodium citrate (I used a scale)
Water, around 1/2 cup or just enough to dissolve the sodium citrate
3-4 cups cheese of your choice (I used a light mild cheddar)
12 oz. chicken, cooked
1 cup zucchini (or broccoli, spinach, etc), diced
1-2 tbsp grated parmesan, optional
Olive oil spray

Instructions:

If using shirataki noodles, empty bags into a colander and drain all the liquid. Rinse well under water.

Drain noodles and transfer to a hot pan without any oil, grease, or liquid. Heat on medium-high for 5-10 minutes, or until noodles release steam and shrink slightly (but not too much!).

Add diced zucchini to pan and sautee until slightly browned. Set aside.

Place water in a large saucepan, add the sodium citrate, and stir until dissolved. Bring to a simmer over medium heat.

Gradually add cheese to the simmering liquid, using a wire whisk to combine after each addition, until all of the cheese is melted and smooth.

IMG_6046The process of deliciousness.

TIP: If the sauce begins to separate, add a pinch more sodium citrate and a splash of water. Bring back to a boil, and continue whisking until sauce is smooth again. 

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Once the cheese sauce has reached the desired consistency, add in cooked chicken and the shirataki and zucchini mixture. Combine until evenly coated in cheese sauce.

Spray an 8″ x 11″ casserole dish with non-stick spray or olive oil. Transfer mac and cheese mixture into dish and sprinkle with grated parmesan. Place under broiler for 5-10 minutes (keep an eye on it!) until golden brown. Serve hot! (Cheese will thicken slightly as it cools.)

 

And as promised, a more traditional recipe for cheese sauce:

Recipe adapted from The Keto Kitchen

1 cup heavy cream or milk of choice (half & half, almond, coconut, etc)
2 oz neufchâtel or cream cheese, cut into small pieces
1 1/2 tsp dry mustard
1 1/2 cups cheddar, shredded
12 oz. chicken, cooked
1 cup zucchini, diced (or broccoli, spinach, etc)
1-2 tbsp grated parmesan, for topping
1/8 tsp garlic powder
Salt and pepper, to taste

Bring the cream or milk to a simmer in a small saucepan, and whisk in the cream cheese and mustard until smooth.

Stir in 1 1/2 cups of the cheese, salt, pepper, and garlic and whisk just until the cheese melts, about 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from heat, pour over the shirataki, zucchini, and chicken and stir to combine.

Spray an 8″ x 11″ casserole dish with non-stick spray or olive oil. Transfer mac and cheese mixture into dish and sprinkle with grated parmesan. Place until broiler until browned, about 5-10 minutes. Serve hot!

Nutritional Info (As calculated with shirataki, zucchini, and sodium citrate sauce):

mac n cheese nutrition

Deconstructed Deep Dish Pizza Casserole (low carb, gluten free)

 

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Nothing brings out the absolute best in me like pizza. For the purposes of this post, “the absolute best” will be defined as “an uncontrollable, rabid animal who single-mindedly annihilates the largest amount of food in the shortest amount of time possible.”

Nothing else in the room exists until the pizza has been completely demolished. It borders on primal. Probably this goes back to when our Paleolithic ancestors roamed the earth, hunting day and night for the freshest wild mozzarella and pepperonis. It’s just evolution at work. It’s SCIENCE.

Dat melty, cheesy ooze. I need a moment. 

So while there’s an appropriate time and place for a quality (low carb or otherwise) pizza dough, my prehistoric tendencies demanded a more basic approach. Meat. Cheese. Toppings. More cheese. MORE MEAT. This would be pizza: DECONSTRUCTED.

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A lot of people seem to be under the impression that pizza could never be a low carb food. These people would be very wrong. What is pizza if not the sum of its toppings? I don’t need dough as a vehicle. I have my HANDS. And in the presence of others, begrudgingly, a fork.

That’s where this magnificent casserole comes into play. With a base of seasoned chicken sausage, LOADED with vegetables and crowned with beautifully bubbling and browned cheeses, you will be lacking for literally nothing when it comes to pizza night. Which you can now justify renaming “every night”.

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Deconstructed Deep Dish Pizza Casserole (low carb, gluten free)

Recipe adapted from Kalyn’s Kitchen

*I hate to leave our vegetarian or vegan friends out of the fun! If they’re part of your diet, feel free to substitute veggie versions of the protein or vegan cheese alternatives for this recipe! They’ll work just fine. 

Yields: Around 6 servings

Ingredients:
1 can (14.5 oz.) diced tomatoes (I used a ‘no salt added‘ variety)
5 links (19.5 oz.) uncooked chicken or turkey Italian sausage (I used Italian bulk chicken sausage)
1-2 tsp Italian herb seasoning (I used Penzeys – a mix of oregano, basil, marjoram, thyme and rosemary)
8-12 oz. fresh mushrooms, washed and cut into thick slices
1/4 cup green peppers
1/4 cup green onions/scallions
1 cup spinach
1 1/2 cups grated Mozzarella cheese (I used part-skim mozzarella)
1-2 tbsp grated parmesan
14 slices regular or turkey pepperoni, cut in half (I used this brand)
Fresh basil, for topping

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400°. Spray an 8″ x 11″ casserole dish with non-stick spray or olive oil.

Pour the diced tomatoes into a colander placed in the sink. While tomatoes drain, spray olive oil/non-stick spray into a large frying pan, squeeze the sausage out of the casing, and brown over medium-high heat, breaking it apart as it cooks.

While sausage cooks, prepare other vegetables. Wash mushrooms, pat dry, and slice into thick slices. Dice green peppers and scallions.

When the sausage is done, make a layer of sausage in the bottom of the casserole dish and top with the drained tomatoes, spreading them out over the top of the sausage. Season with Italian herb spices.

Return to pan, and spray with olive oil or a non-stick spray. Add in green peppers and scallions and cook at medium high heat for around two minutes.

Add the mushrooms and cook until all the liquid is released and the mushrooms are starting to brown. Add spinach and cook until just wilted.

Layer the mushrooms, pepper, scallion, and spinach over the sausage-tomato mixture. Cut pepperoni in half. Sprinkle the shredded Mozzarella over the top of the casserole and lay the pepperoni pieces on top of the cheese, spacing them evenly so the whole top is covered with pepperoni. Sprinkle the grated parmesan on top.

pizza8Cheese for miles.

Bake about 20-25 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and starting to brown. If desired, run under the broiler in the last 2-4 minutes (keep an eye on it!) to brown the cheese. Top with fresh basil, and serve hot.

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Nutritional Info (As calculated with the above ingredients):

deconstructed pizza nutrition

Super Easy Chicken Ramen; Or, What’s A Shirataki? (Low carb, gluten free, dairy free, vegan adaptable)

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I understand you may be confused by the images you are seeing right now because they do not appear to feature a dessert. Honestly, even I’m confused. That is not a picture of dessert. That is definitely soup. Right? That isn’t a dessert. 

Well, I hope you’re sitting down: all of this was…INTENTIONAL. Yes, not unlike my Buffalo Salmon and Avocado Salad, occasionally I will find myself eating something other than cake. AND HERE LIES THE PROOF.

Part of the inspiration here is how fuh-reezing it’s been lately. To be fair I have been known to define anything under 50° as ‘freezing’, but still. It’s been the perfect kind of crisp, chilly winter air I love to romanticize while actually barricading myself indoors and turning my heated blanket setting up to ‘electrocute’.

Oh, and but of course: making some simmering, savory soup. Yeeesssss.

You really can’t go wrong with ramen. Cheap, easy, and delicious. And here, as is always the promise: healthy, too! Loaded with veggies, protein, and aaall that good stuff.

To make this a low carb dish, I’ve opted to use shirataki noodles over a more traditional noodle. What on earth is shirataki, you say? Why, I’m glad you asked!

Shirataki noodles (or yamflour noodles, konjac noodles, konnyaku noodles, etc) are a thin, transparent Japanese noodle made from the gelatinous fiber of the konjac yam. As an ingredient, they’re very low in carbohydrates and calories, and have little flavor of their own. They’re available in a bunch of different shapes, too – fettucini, angel hair, elbow, etc.

You can usually find them in the refrigerated section next to the tofu – they come packaged in liquid that smells a bit fishy upon opening. A quick rinse and any kind of heating (par-boiling, stir-frying, dry-roasting etc) should clear that up. Other than that, they’re ready right out of the bag! Some kinds of shirataki are made with tofu as well, which adds a minimal amount of calories and carbs, but some people prefer the texture. If you’re watching your carbs, keep an eye out for brands that sneak in various starches and flours.

So they’re a bit of an acquired taste, for sure. But are they healthy? WHAT DO YOU TAKE ME FOR? I’ll let the clever minds behind the Keto Diet Blog summarize:

This study shows that the soluble fibre called glucomannan found in shirataki noodles may help you lose weight and improve health. Below are the main benefits of glucomannan:

  • Soluble fiber is very low in calories and lowers the energy-to-weight ratio of the food that is consumed.
  • It has shown to promote satiety via several mechanisms. Including shirataki noodles will keep you fuller for longer!
  • It slows down digestion which again induces satiety.
  • It inhibits carbohydrate absorption and improves glycemic parameters (lowering blood glucose levels and inhibiting insulin spikes).
  • It reduces fat and protein absorption (only beneficial for excessive calorie consumption).

Sounds good to me. But if shirataki is too far out for you, you’re not out of healthy options! Try the ever-popular zucchini noodles (aka zoodles), kelp noodles, spaghetti squash, cabbage, or just some plain old gluten-free noodles (keeping in mind the carb count would change).

While I used some of my personal favorite veggies for this recipe, feel free to substitute or add in your own favorites! For our vegetarian/vegan friends, try switching in some tofu, seitan, portobello etc. instead of chicken. The possibilities are endless!

So the sooner we get this started, the better – my heated blanket’s power cord isn’t long enough to reach the kitchen.

Super Easy Chicken Ramen (Low carb, gluten free, dairy free, vegan adaptable)

Yields: around 4 servings

Ingredients: 

2-3 packages of shirataki noodles/tofu shirataki (I used plain shirataki)
1-2 tbsp olive oil
2 cups sliced mushroom
2 cups baby bok choy, chopped (leaves separated from stalks)
1-2 tbsp minced garlic, or to taste
1 1/2 tsp powdered ginger
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp salt or onion salt
1/4 tsp ancho chili powder
4 cups chicken stock (I used a lower sodium chicken bone broth)
1-2 cups water
4-5 tbsp gluten-free tamari or soy sauce (I used a low sodium tamari)
12 oz. chicken, cooked and cubed
1/4 cup shredded or coined carrots
1/4 cup green onion, diced

Optional, for topping:
Nori (seaweed)
Boiled egg
Sriracha

Directions:

If using shirataki noodles, empty bags into a colander and drain all the liquid. Rinse well under water.

Drain noodles and transfer to a hot pan without any oil, grease, or liquid. Heat on medium-high for 5-10 minutes, or until noodles release steam and shrink slightly (but not too much!). Set aside.

Place a large saucepan over medium heat and add the olive oil. Once the oil is hot, add minced garlic and heat until fragrant. Add mushrooms and bok choy stalks and sauté until they just begin to soften and release water. Add powdered ginger, black pepper, salt, and chili powder. Stir to combine.

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Add in chicken stock/bone broth, water, and tamari. Add in the rest of the bok choy leaves. Bring up to a boil and then reduce to a simmer.

Add in shirataki noodles and cooked chicken. Simmer for 1-2 minutes more – shirataki noodles are great at absorbing flavors!

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Remove from heat and pour into bowls. Top with diced green onion, carrots, and anything else you’d like! Devour, and then crawl back under your comforter.

 

Nutritional Info (calculated without optional toppings):

ramen nutrition info

Buffalo Salmon and Avocado Salad (Low carb, sugar free, gluten free, dairy free)

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At this point in time we are going to aggressively ignore my shameful update schedule and instead focus our energy on other shameful concerns. For example: how did it take me this long to discover buffalo sauce?

I have no idea where this came from, but it’s like I got hit with a truck. Just outta nowhere. It’s been rough, guys. I can recognize a buffalo recipe on Pinterest from across the room. I’m obsessed with buffalo covered everything and no one even cares since they’ve already been enjoying their chicken dips and wings since the dawn of time.

While feverishly trying to incorporate hot sauce into everything I eat, I came across this Salmon & Avocado Salad recipe at The Healthy Foodie . With a few tweaks (aka ADDING MORE HOT SAUCE), I knew it would be an excellent vehicle to help me shovel more buffalo-type stuff in my face. And finally, a savory recipe to share! I eat that stuff, too! Not just cake! Honest!

Adding celery was key for me – I think celery legally has to be included with all buffalo dishes? Look, I don’t make the rules. But at least this time we can subtly dice it up and use it to add a little texture and crunch. Cilantro provides an excellent zip and balance for all that creamy avocado, too. This has become a staple in my fridge – I always try and have a batch available. It keeps really well!

Avocado: a little TOO photogenic.

Avocado: a little TOO photogenic.

So what makes this recipe in particular so fantastic? It’s cheap, quick, and easy for starters. (Canned or pouched salmon is almost always wild-caught!) Frankly, those three factors pretty much seal the deal for me, but it’s also – surprise!! – really GOOD FOR YOU. It’s low in carbs, high in fiber, and provides enough healthy, anti-inflammatory fats (don’t fear the fats!) to keep you satiated until the next time you’re trying to figure out how to inhale more buffalo sauce.

Buffalo Salmon & Avocado Salad

Recipe adapted from The Healthy Foodie

Yields: four servings (I have been known to eat it in less)

Ingredients: 

2 (5 oz.) pouches wild-caught salmon
1 ripe avocado
1 stalk celery, diced
2-4 tbsp chopped cilantro, or to taste
2 tbsp hot sauce (I use Frank’s Original)
Salt & pepper, to taste

Directions:

Only FOUR ingredients, y'all!!!

I forgot the celery PLEASE FORGIVE ME.

Add the salmon into a bowl, and use a fork to separate it a bit. Then, add your avocado and smoosh it all right in there.

Then add all remaining ingredients and mix until well combined. Feel free to add whatever other mix-ins or spices tickle your fancy! I like letting it sit in the refrigerator for a bit, so all the flavors can ~*~blend~*~, but you could also just go to town on it. Roll it in nori, put it in a lettuce cup, wrap it, press it into a 1950s jello mold (don’t do that) – whatever you like!

Adding the hot sauce does not add to the visual appeal, unfortunately. This would explain the distinct lack of pictures accompanying this recipe. :| My recommendation is to visit the original recipe on The Healthy Foodie and pretend her gorgeous photos are my gorgeous photos.

Nutritional Info:

nutrition label